March 27, 2008
Peace Corps Knits Family Ties for Jonathan Campbell ‘05
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Jonathan Campbell `05 found another family halfway around the world in the Ukraine.
The Peace Corps worker, who now lives in the western city of Ivano Frankivs’k, spent three months last spring with a host family in Chernihiv. During that time, he underwent training five days a week with five hours daily dedicated to learning the language and another five on culture, history and job training.
“I spent many nights sitting around the kitchen table talking with my host mother in very bad Ukrainian about things like girlfriends, my parents back home, my feelings, and her life during the Soviet Union, etc.,” said Campbell who lived with host mother, Tanya, pictured above with Campbell.
With life in the Ukraine focused on family and friends, Campbell found that it was very important to have someone vouch for him, which his host family did repeatedly.
Campbell now works in the city of Ivano Frankivs’k business center in the Department of Economic Development. His mission is to establish a process for the region’s tourism sector to update its information for a database.
“With this database and a network of people, it will increase the area’s ability to advertise and market the area as a tourist destination of east Europe,” Campbell said. “I also have other secondary projects like an English club that meets once a week in the city library and a position helping to teach English at the language university.”
While a student at Winthrop, Campbell studied business administration, including some courses on international business. He found that studying different cultures, history, language and the different ways of life in general was fascinating.
Campbell had hoped to study or travel abroad but wasn’t able to arrange it. So when he heard that a friend, Sarah Rogerson, would join the Peace Corps and live in Malawi, Africa, he also decided to join the organization.
“It’s a chance to live abroad and pursue the things that always were the most interesting to me; a chance to travel, learn another language and to do something important that would help other people,” Campbell said. “The only fall back is that it is a long time to be away from home.”
The Peace Corps requires its workers to serve a post for 24 months, although there are no restrictions for workers to visit home.
The job can be hard and stressful, Campbell added, but not in ways that he experienced in the United States. “Here I almost enjoy the hardships and the stress because it’s interesting and challenging. It’s worth it,” Campbell said.
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